Friday, March 25, 2011

Newbury one week after Cheltenham

One short week after Sam Waley-Cohen rode Long Run to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, much of the press foucs moves to the Flat, with the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan and the Winter Derby at Lingfield.

I'm sticking with the jumpers at Newbury where the two mares' finales form the backbone of the card. Ten go in the novices' chase at 2.15 with Nicky Henderson's Kerada likely to be priced up favourite as she bids for a four-timer. I'm inclined to oppose on grounds of value alone and a quick look through the form shows that six of her seven wins to date have come when the word soft has appeared in the going; the exception was a bumper race in 2008. She beat Asturienne six lengths with something in hand at this course back in January but that one reopposes tomorrow with a 14 pound pull in the weights - the handicapper looks to have given Alan King's charge every chance. Having said that, writing in the Weekender, King doesn't rate her one of his best chances of the week although the hint is the cheekpieces helped at Plumpton last time (Evella well beaten) and they're applied again tomorrow. Trainer's comment: 'She has bags of ability.' The bottom two are set to carry more than their long handicap weight while the five-year-old Sway is declared doubtful. Cool Friend is priced up at 12/1 in the tissue and makes some appeal. You have to forgive her last run at Exeter where, after a mistake early on, she never featured and she has more a lot more second places to her name (seven) than wins (three) but she should appreciate the better ground. I'll back Cool Friend each way provided she's priced up around the 12/1 mark.

The mares' novices' hurdle finale looks difficult. Nicky Henderson won this last year with Ryde Back; this year he saddles four of the 18 runners with stable jock Barry Geraghty aboard Line Freedom. I'll sit this one out.

In the opener Two Kisses is consistent and a good yardstick but she's had a long season and you suspect something will come to beat her. Moose Moran was well behind the filly the last time but prior to that Nicky Henderson's grey had finished fourth to Kumbeshwar at Sandown - that one went down a neck to What A Charm in the Fred Winter at the Festival. At one point connections were thinking of the Triumph Hurdle for Moose Moran who held a rating of 100 on the Flat; Moose Moran is given another chance.

Two jockey bookings catch the eye in the 3.25 - Ruby Walsh on Maktu and Barry Geraghty on Theatre Dance while two trainers stand out on recent form - Charlie Longsdon (Rey Nacarado) has had six winners and six seconds from 22 runners in the past fortnight while David Arbuthnot has sent out three winners and a second from his last five runners. Winterwood finished second to Bai Zhu earlier today so wouldn't be certain to take part but Ogee will have his supporters after finishing fourth in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster three weeks ago. Theatre Dance should handle the ground - he gets a tentative vote in a trappy-looking affair provided he's priced around 7/1.

Kid Cassidy looks the one in the John Haine Memorial Novices' Hurdle but he'll be no price while in the bumper I'll keep an eye on Jumps Road who was well-beaten behind Ericht (subsequently sixth in Festival bumper) and Bygones In Brid (18th in Festival bumper) last time but looked more suited to this distance at Fontwell the time before. Word is Broomfield is highly-regarded but the gelding was slightly disappointing here three weeks ago.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

No fancy prices about Cool Friend (7/1) who raced prominently on the first circuit but struggled to hold her position down the back straight. Nick Scholfield gave her every chance but she looked one-paced in the final half mile and finished fourth behind Easter Legend (6/1). 3/1 favourite Kerada fell four out; Geraghty took a nasty tumble and gave up the rest of his rides. Today's SL reports he aims to be back this coming weekend. Seven pounds claimer Jeremiah McGrath took his ride on Line Freedom in the next and promptly won at 12/1!

Moose Moran (4/1) disappointed again in the opener, being pulled up three out after some indifferent hurdling and then losing his place after the seventh - perhaps hurdling won't be his game. Ultravox (11/2) and Franklino (11/2) fought out the finish, the former prevailing by one and a half lengths with Two Kisses (11/4f) a further 26 lengths behind in third.

McCoy deputised for Geraghty on Theatre Dance (9/2) and had the gelding to the fore from the start. The champ had picked his mount off the ground a couple of times on the final circuit before the partnership parted company four from home with the writing already on the wall. Bottom weight Rey Nacarado (7/2) held top weight Maktu (13/2) two lengths at the post. 5/2 favourite Ogee didn't jump that well and has proved something of a disappointment this season.

Kid Cassidy was a non-runner while in the bumper Turbo Du Ranch (16/1) found plenty for pressure to pip 11/10 hotpot Broomfield a neck. Jumps Road (12/1) was in the mix two out but faded into seventh.